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An ink stamp on the back of the headstock which included either 5 or 6 digits.

The first digit is the year and the other numbers are production numbers.

Hey Zach, I have a Gibson Les Paul I’m trying to identify.

The serial number is 676323, and “Made in USA” is stamped below that.

I’ll start with trying to date the instrument, but keep in mind that dating and identifying Gibson guitars typically go hand in hand.

I get several questions about Gibson serial numbers every day, and my initial answer is always to not expect or rely on the serial number alone to determine the year of manufacture.

In the first 45 years of production the number system was pretty cut and dry.

Unfortunately not all instruments were numbered and not all followed the number pattern so all dates are approximate.

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Gibson was owned by the Norlin corporation from 1969 to 1986. Initially, the company produced only Orville Gibson's original designs.

Lower Right: The fourth and fifth numbers of this seven-digit potentiometer date code reveal the last two digits of its year of manufacture. Hi Brian, There’s no question that dating Gibson guitars is challenging—and sometimes downright impossible.

There are two basic components to your Les Paul question: dating it and identifying it.

In 1944, Gibson was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) which was acquired in 1969 by Panama-based conglomerate, Ecuadorian Company Limited (E. L.) that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation.

Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and builds one of the world's most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Gibson was at the forefront of innovation in acoustic guitars, especially in the big band era of the 1930s; the Gibson Super 400 was widely imitated.

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